Sciatica is a pain in the leg due to irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain generally goes from the front of the thigh to the back of the calf, and may also extend upward to the hip and down to the foot. In addition to pain, there may be numbness and difficulty moving or controlling the leg.
Causes of sciatica
Most doctors will tell you that the most common cause of sciatica is a "slipped disc" (a herniated disc in the spine).That has not been my experience. In the clinic, for every one slipped disc I see, there are about 50 people with piriformis syndrome, that is swelling of the piriformis muscle due to trigger points. Because the piriformis and the sciatic nerve both exit the sacrum through the rather small sciatic notch, any swelling of the piriformis will cause the sciatic nerve to be crushed against the bone causing pain. Other conditions that can cause or aggravate sciatica include roughening and enlarging of the vertebrae, infections, and tumors.
Most cases of sciatica can be effectively treated by physical therapy, most commonly treatment of the piriformis to relieve its swelling, and appropriate changes in environment (for example cushioning, or chair and desk height). Chiropractic manipulation often helps. In approximately 10-20% of cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.
Tags: Health Medical Pharma, herniated disc, Chiropractic manipulation, Spinal disc herniation, Piriformis syndrome, Physical therapy, cause of sciatica
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About Gary Clark
Gary Clark is a massage therapist and EFT practitioner in Perth, Western Australia. Gary founded Pain Busters Clinic in 2002, where he helps people with a variety of pain problems, including fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.